Emergency Protest Against Greek
Prime Minister TODAY (August 9th)
On Friday, August 9 at 5pm in the Peace Park at 42nd Street and First Avenue in Manhattan, across the street from the United Nations, two groups are staging an emergency protest in solidarity with the ongoing struggles of the Greek people and against the visiting prime minister of Greece, Antonis Samaras. At that time, Samaras is scheduled to be meeting at the United Nations with UN General Secretary Ban-Ki Moon. “We want the media and the public to know what the Greek people know unfortunately all too well,” according to the protest statement from AKNY – Greece Solidarity Movement and SYRIZA-New York.
The groups’ statement blasts Samaras for leading a government that “devastates the economy, panders to the neo-Nazis, and destroys democracy.” Both groups have been active in left politics in New York since early 2012. They blame the austerity policies imposed by Greek governments, in concert with EU and IMF demands, for a staggering 28% unemployment rate. “Growing numbers of people can no longer afford to use hospitals,” according to their statement. “Poverty, hunger, homelessness and despair are growing rapidly. Suicide rates are skyrocketing.”
The statement continues, “The Samaras government has become increasingly authoritarian and repressive. It has moved the country toward the extreme right, legitimizing the neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and anti-gay Golden Dawn Party by pandering to its anti-immigrant slogans. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the international media have documented the fact that Samaras’ conservative party, the police, and the judiciary have all turned a blind eye to the rise and escalation of criminal acts of Golden Dawn, which has grown rapidly as a result of the social havoc that austerity policies are causing. We are witnessing the evisceration of Greek democracy: extreme police violence against protesters, holding camps for immigrants, torture of prisoners, arrests of journalists… Golden Dawn refers to Jews as ‘vermin,’ and a Golden Dawn member of parliament reads aloud from the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion with no protest from the government. ”
“As bailouts for the rich and budget cuts for the rest are now becoming adopted in other European countries, the U.S. and beyond, it has become clear that what is happening in Greece affects us all. For this reason, we are here to express solidarity to the Greek people and to affirm that their struggle against Samaras’ brutal austerity policies is also our struggle.”